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8 Ways To Improve Your Focus

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https://www.fastcompany.com/3050123/8-ways-to-improve-your-focus

fastcompany.com

8 Ways To Improve Your Focus
The average human has an eight-second attention span-less than that of a goldfish, according to a 2015 study from Microsoft. That number has shrunk over the years due to our digital connectedness and the fact that the brain is always seeking out what's new and what's next.

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Prepare Your Brain

Take a minute or two to sit in a comfortable position and breathe deeply into your stomach.

Let your body calm down before you approach your work. You’ll find it rea...

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Where Your Focus Needs To Be

Take the time to identify what deserves your focus for the year, for the month, for the week, and for the day. Then look at your calendar and block time dedicated to focus.

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Unplug For 30 Minutes

If you need to focus, log out of email and social media. Log out for 30 minutes either at the beginning of the day or for a period in the afternoon. You won’t believe how mu...

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Grab Some Coffee

It helps you focus on the day.  While caffeine doesn’t improve learning or memory performance, Astrid Nehlig found it does increase physiolog...

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Check the Thermostat

If it’s too hot or too cool in your work environment, it could impact your focus. 

study from Cornell University found tha...

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Turn On Some Music

Too much background noise can be very distracting. According to some studies, having music playing helps you focus on your own thoughts. The catch? You have to like the song.

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Take Short Breaks

study found that participants who were given short breaks during ...

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Doodle

If you’re sitting in on a long meeting or conference, improve your focus–and your artistic skills–by doodling.

Doodling aids in cognitive performance and recollection.

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Practice Slow Work

When we react to every little thing that comes up at work, we lose focus and attention.

Counter this by scheduling extra time to complete a task, engaging in single-tasking, and set...

Develop a Stress Management System

Stress is unavoidable, but we can create systems to decrease its influence over our capacity to work. These systems vary from person to person but they often include meditation, aerobic exercise (i.e. running, cycling, walking), surrounding yourself in nature, and eating healthfully.

When you know an upcoming project will generate stress, anticipate scheduling periods into your work plan to participate in the stress management activities that work for you.

Seek To Explain

Memorization doesn’t necessarily mean learning. The test for whether you understand a subject or not is the capacity you have to explain your subject or argument. 

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Why You Should Take Breaks

Why You Should Take Breaks
  • “Movement breaks” are essential for your physical and emotional health. A 5-minute walkabout break every hour can improve your health and well-being.
  • Breaks can prevent ...

When Not to Take a Break

When you are in a state of “flow” it is not good to take a break.

“Flow” is characterized by complete absorption in the task, seemingly effortless concentration, and pleasure in the task itself.

Good Breaks

A “good break” will give that goal-oriented Prefrontal Cortex of yours a good rest by switching brain activity to another area.

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William James

“Wisdom is the art of knowing what to overlook.”

William James

The 2 kinds of distractions

  • Sensory distractions (External): The things happening around us like colleagues talking, phones ringing, people moving around us, music playing, etc.
  • Emotional distractions (Internal). The thoughts that make our attention drift from what we’re doing. For example, remembering a phone call you need to return or thinking about an upcoming meeting.

Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman

“It’s not the chatter of people around us that is the most powerful distractor, but rather the chatter of our own minds.”

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